RUSSIANS KNOW HOW TO SAVE THE RIGHT TO PETITION TO THE
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
A new and eagerly awaited book on the implementation of the
European Convention of Human Rights in Russian courts
After the ratification of Protocol 14 by the Russian Federation on the 8 February 2010, the publication of this book may be the most crucial and recent step taken this year towards the safeguard of the individual right to petition to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). If Protocol 14 enables the start of a long-awaited reform of the Court aimed at speeding up the treatment of complaints, this book, however, brings a whole new area of solutions, within the Russian Federation, to clear the overload of cases pending before the ECHR.
Described as provocative by ECHR judge Anatoliy Kovler, who recommended it by writing the foreword, this book speaks about the true spirit of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which is to ensure to all citizens of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe the protection of their rights and freedoms by their own national judiciary system to eliminate at the source their need to appeal to the ECHR.
Through analysis of hundreds of interviews and judgments on the domestic use of the Convention in Russian courts, the author explores reasons for poor application of international law in Russia. In discussing the previous edition Fançoise Hampson, Professor of the University of Essex, stated, "This book is of fundamental importance to all civil servants within the Council of Europe member States and within the Council of Europe itself who need to understand where and why the problems of implementation of the Convention are arising in the Russian Federation," which suggests a more permanent and long term solution to the overload of the ECHR than the commonly known reform of the Court.
Despite the fact that the Russian constitution recognizes the domestic status of the Convention, a status that is indeed higher than that of any federal law and which commands that the Convention be applied if there is a conflict between the Convention and a national law, jurists continue to face tremendous barriers. Their efforts to obtain the recognition and the application by national courts of the norms of the Convention as well as the case-law of the ECHR are being undermined by a number of obstacles which are explicitly demonstrated by the author, as well as good examples of the Convention application by the Russian court. This book also clearly explores the specific instruments of the Russian legal system that permit the domestic application of the Convention as well as putting forward practical solutions to those obstacles. Offered as guidelines, those solutions can benefit the work of all judicial professionals and help protect the fundamental rights and freedom of Russian citizens at the national level.
The author Dr Anton Burkov, jurist and scholar, has put into this book his knowledge and his front line experience of the use of the guaranties of the Convention in Russian courts. Dr Burkov has worked for more than 12 years as a staff attorney and project coordinator for the Urals Centre for Constitutional and International Protection of Human Rights of the NGO Sutyajnik, as well as having recently completed his doctoral thesis at the University of Cambridge. The publication of his thesis in the form of this new book was eagerly awaited by Russian law and ECHR specialists. Professor Bill Bowring wrote last year: "Burkov is now completing his PhD at Cambridge University and his results are eagerly awaited" (Journal of Law and Society 36, 2 (2009): 282-287).
An absolute basic to any judicial professional in the human rights field, this work by Dr Anton Burkov has been nominated for the prestigious York Prize, awarded every year during the month of April by the University of Cambridge.
This book is in Russian and is available at http://www.wolters-kluwer.ru/catalogue/34373.html in Russia or at http://www.mippbooks.com from outside of Russia.
The central thesis of this book will be available in English later this year in Burkov A., “The European Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Russian Legal System” in The European Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Central and Eastern Europe. (Utrecht: Eleven International Publishing.) The author could be contacted by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone +7-9126576655